Why Does My Cat Sit on My Lap?

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Why Does My Cat Sit on My Lap - SweetieKitty

Last updated: January 5, 2020

Cats are cuddly creatures, there’s no doubt about it. When I think of comfort, I think of a winter’s night, a roaring log fire and a glass of sherry. But what’s wrong with this picture? There is no furry little whiskery cat in it cuddling up, dozing, on your lap. Yes, you can get a very small dog to do this, I know. But a dog is not so soft, or so silky, it doesn’t have tickly whiskers, and worst of all it doesn’t PURRRRR… That’s what’s in it for you, but what does the cat get out of it? Why does my cat sit on my lap? Read on!

Because It’s a REALLY Comfortable Bed!

Duh! This really is a no-brainer! From a feline point of view, these big soft squishy things called thighs are just the most comfortable pillows ever evolved! The softest and most expensive cat basket money can buy just isn’t good enough. If his owner has crocheted him a beautiful blanket with her own fair hands, crafted from the wool of Angora goats raised on the sweetest grass on earth, it just doesn’t compare. It’s not a lap, and therefore it doesn’t cut the mustard!

Why Does My Cat Sit on My Lap - Cat Sunbathing - SweetieKittyBecause He Loves You!

Another no-brainer! Cats show their love in all sorts of ways. Purring, kneading, head butting, and marking with their lips and cheeks. They miss you when you’re gone and sometimes won’t eat. They bring you the most amazing and sometimes quite revolting “gifts” such as dead mice and birds because from their point of view they’re doing you a favor. “You poor human, you can’t hunt for yourself, so I’m doing it for you!” But the most obvious way they show their love for you is wanting to be near you. They get in your bed with you, sit beside you, even go online with you if they get the chance! Why does my cat  sit on my lap? Because according to feline logic your lap is the best place in the entire world to be if he wants to say: “you’re purrfect!”

To Get Your Attention

Hello! It’s me, Ruffles, your tomcat! Remember me? No? Oh well, I’ll have to resort to drastic measures here. I’ve tried kneading. I’ve tried lying on the computer. I’ve tried sleeping with you and tangling up your hair. In desperation, I have even tried presenting my butt to you first thing in the morning when you wake up. I’ve marked you, butted you and even shown you my tummy – the supreme mark of surrender from a proud creature like me! I’ve threaded myself  round and round your feet and you didn’t even fall down! But there’s nothing else for it – it’s time for the lap. You’re watching TV? Fabulous. Reading a book? Even better. Have you noticed me yet?

To Protect Him

You are the source of your cat’s safety and security. Since your cat’s ears are so sensitive and loud noises scare him, it’s quite natural that he should want to be near you at every chance possible, and as close to you as possible. When there’s a thunderstorm, or firecrackers outside, or the vacuum cleaner is at work around the house, the safest place to be is as close to you as he can get. Other things that scare cats are strangers and new pets, so if he’s nervous and unsure, you are the safest person in their little world.

Because It’s Warm

Our mean (average) temperature as humans is 98.6F (37C), and that’s the temperature at which we function best. A cat runs slightly hotter, at 102F (39C) so, to maintain his mean body temperature, he needs to be a little warmer than you are. Cats evolved as desert animals, so they need a hotter temperature to survive. If they haven’t got a warm enough outside temperature, they will find another heat source – you. Imagine the lovely heat that radiates from those nice warm pillowy thighs! Yes, they DO love you, but they love your lap the most!

Because it Reminds Him of Mommy

You’re warm, just like Mommy. You smell nice, just like Mommy. You have nice soft things to wear and lovely soft flesh. Ok, so it doesn’t have fur on it  like Mommy but hey – you can’t have everything! You stroke him just like Mommy does. And you feed him – just like Mommy. Seeing a pattern here? Yes, sometimes you take him back to his kitten days when he was safe, warm and well-fed. That lap is magic!

Why Does your Cat Sit on Your Lap in the Toilet?

It’s true that not every cat does this, but quite a few do. Mine doesn’t do this but he does squirm about on the cistern and is fascinated by the water going down! It’s a bit of a mystery, really, but then so many things about cats are mysterious! One theory is that they don’t like to be parted from you.  They may realize that you are vulnerable and they want to protect you. OR – forgive me – they may just like the SMELL! Another theory is that by shutting the door you make that space more interesting, and give it a higher value. And you might be petting another cat in there – heaven forbid! That’s why he can’t let you out of his sight in the toilet. Whatever it is, they are not going to tell us anytime soon, because, inscrutable creatures that they are, they like it that way!

Why Does My Cat Sit on My Lap - Sleeping Cat - SweetieKittyWhy Will Your Cat NOT Sit On Your Lap?

Many cats, particularly rescue cats, are not comfortable with a lot of touching. This can be overcome but it has to be done at the right time and at the right pace if you’re ever going to reach the goal of getting your little moggy to sit on your lap. Start by stroking him on the places he likes best, then give him a treat while you touch a previously out-of-bounds area. This will associate this area of the body with something pleasant. If he likes a certain place in the house let him sit there while you pet him, making sure that you don’t do it for too long. Many cats have a “petting threshold” beyond which they’ll run away or become aggressive, so rather underdo it than overdo it. Eventually, you’ll find that he’ll become more accustomed to your touch and in time you’ll achieve the cherished goal of lap sitting!

So those are some of the reasons why your lap is a much-desired piece of real estate. It’s just the right size and shape for lots of loving!